Friday, April 10, 2009

Liveblog experiment: 50 exams, 48 hours.

What did I say about blogging lending itself to the worst of times rather than the best of times?

I have 50 exams to mark. The exams were in the format of four essay questions that students were given in advance and had three hours to write. Four essays + three hours = a lot of panicked scribbling. Some students filled four exam books.

I am going to try to finish them in two days, because I have a dream. A dream of a day off. A dream of waking up on Sunday, going for a bike ride through scenic Centretown, cooking a week's worth of delicious and nutritious meals, reading a book, and going to bed at a reasonable hour in order to be well rested for my internship starting Monday. A dream that does not involve finishing my marking in a panic at 2 a.m.

If you can dream it, you can do it, is what I'm telling myself. If it takes me half an hour to mark each exam, that's 25 hours. That's two 12.5 hour days. That even gives me time to sleep.

But it will require discipline. Strict time limits for how long it takes me to grade each answer. Moratoriums on staring into space and hitting refresh on Google reader.

On the other hand, it's the perfect liveblogging scenario. Read with me as I descend into madness, dear friends.

Check for updates throughout the next two days.


10:20 a.m.: About to spread exams on bed. I finished question one on about 10 of them yesterday. Strict 10-minute time limit per answer, with the goal of reducing it to seven as I get into the swing of things.

Anyone else a recovering livejournal-er? Then you'll get the reference:
Mood: Optimistic
Music: Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde

1:20 p.m.: It's going faster than I thought... I'm averaging five minutes per answer. Still sane. Just consumed delicious tuna melt on a bagel. This is all fascinating to you, I'm sure. Maybe liveblogging is as stupid and mundane as critics say it is. About to make cup of coffee #4.
Mood: Full.
Music: David Bowie (I'm multitasking: getting to know classic discographies better as I mark. Dylan, as usual, was great for a few hours, but then I wanted to never hear a harmonica again).

2:54 p.m.: I'm officially done marking question 1 on all 50 exams, which means I'm 1/4 done. Have started muttering to myself as I mark. Going to the grocery store for a break.
Mood: Excited for sunshine.
Music: Still Bowie.

3:41 p.m.: The grocery store was closed. I forgot that it's Good Friday, and that normal people are home with their families cooking ham and eating cream eggs.
Attempted to bike to the store in Lulus, which kept getting caught in the gears. Had to wrap my right pant leg in an elastic band. Very recession chic; nouveau hobo, if you will. I can see the headlines now: "Lulu Lemon yoga pants cause traffic accident: 'I'm going back to skinny jeans,' vows cyclist."
Mood: Angry I have to go back to marking so soon.
Music: CBC Radio 3.

5:36 p.m.: There's one student who underlines key words as she writes. This makes it super easy to read and mark, because I can see really easily if she's making the points she's supposed to make according to the grading rubric. Also she writes in big, round, neat print. I want to hug her. People I do not want to hug include students who write in cursive and students who write in very light mechanical pencil.
Mood: A little concerned that I'm not maintaining my earlier pace.
Music: CBC Radio 3
Cups of coffee: 5

8:54 p.m.: You know how when you say the same word over and over you forget what it means? The following words have blended into meaningless pablum in my brain from reading them 500 times (whether they meant anything in the first place is a whole other matter). I have to concentrate really hard to focus my eyes on them. They dart away when I see them, like accidentally touching a hot stove:
- Patriarchy
- Construction
- Prostitution
- Capitalism
- Media images
By the way, this is a women's studies class.
Six exams away from the halftime show.
Mood: Stiff.

10:09 p.m.: Forget this, I'm going to Megababe's.
Mood: Thirsty.


10:06 a.m.: The two answers that are left to mark have the most potential for long-windedness. This is going to be fun.
Mood: Bring it on.
Music: Lisa's housewife mix (mostly Belle and Sebastian, The Shins, Cat Power and Elliott Smith. Very non-grating).

12:47 p.m.: Got cabin fever and decided to take a walk and pick up lunch. My neighbourhood's a smorgasbord of cheap and tasty treats, and I decided to try something new: a cheese and mint pie from the middle eastern bakery a couple of blocks down the road.
Oh. My. God. "Pie" is misleading: it's a cheese/mint filling stuffed in a greasy flatbread and toasted like a Quizno's sub to make it melty. Huge and delicious... and $2.25. Why do I buy groceries?
Focus, Claire. Focus.
Mood: Unfocused.
Music: Belle and Sebastian.

3:34 p.m.: This has kind of stopped being funny and lighthearted and become actually depressing. About to make attempt #2 at going to the grocery store.
Mood: Defeated.

6:30 p.m.: Done question three, which means I'm three-quarters finished. Pretty good, yeah, but it basically guarantees I'm going to be at this until at least midnight, and that's if I don't take a bunch of breaks.
Mood: Second wind?

10:48 p.m.: I'm done. I powered through those last exams with laser-like determination. I thought I would feel like cheering, or at least like crying, or getting carted away in a strait jacket. I don't really. I just feel annoyed that I spent two days of my life doing that. Also, I am super up to speed on my Canadian indie music now, after listening to CBC Radio 3 for probably something close to 20 hours in the past 48.
Mood: Hungry... and terrified the prof will make me regrade for having too many As.


Amy said...

You can do it Claire!

Sonya said...

You know how the pace of your exercise matches the pace of your music?

I suggest you switch to Britney.

The Science Manly said...

You can do it!!!!!